Use it or lose it: Support your local library

Just as we thought things were improving the budget cuts are biting harder. It’s up to everyone of us to do what we can to help. Borrow a book from your library TODAY.!

Rochester Literature Festival

library-1856327_960_720Our lovely new volunteer, Christina Lee, makes the case for one of our most important public services.

On Monday, The Guardian published an article on the imminent closure of 340 public libraries in the next five years if funding cuts are implemented.

This is sad news for all of us. Cutting funding for libraries may save some money for the next few years, but in the long run, this will have devastating effects on society as a whole.  We need libraries to stimulate children’s love of reading and engagement in the community, and to give students from low income families, adult learners, and recent immigrants the chance to access the resources they need to improve their skills and opportunities.

I remember fondly the times when I was a thirteen-year-old, scouring through the bookshelves for classics like George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. My…

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Murder at Chatham Grande

Regular follows of this blog may remember that in 2013 I edited and published a paperback version of a crime novel written by my father, Ron Taylor in the 1950s.

Link to paperback:Chatham Grande

 I’m pleased to tell you this unique story is now available on Amazon Kindle at only £2.40.

Link to Kindle version:

 As Ron Taylor came to the end of his 22 years’ service with the Royal Marine Corps, the barracks at Chatham Kent, known as Chatham Grande, was closed down. Dad knew the barracks and the service very well. He had experienced the Royal Marines’ devoted loyalty to the Corps and the Crown. Alongside this, he also witnessed a smouldering hatred that could exist between serving men, and within the ranks of commissioned and non-commissioned officers.

This latter was his premise for the heinous crime of murder, taking place on the very day of the barracks’ closure. You can follow the difficult task set for the civilian police detectives, as they unravel the relationships of the various men and women, who remained on that final day. You can also witness the end of an era as the Medway Towns of 1950 felt the effects of losing another arm of their military history.

I’d like to draw your attention to the cover picture. This shows the Royal Marine Band of Chatham marching through the gates of the  Chatham Grande Barracks into Dock Road. Chatham circa 1910  Reproduced courtesy of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre from the Couchman Collection.

Chatham Grande

This story is atmospheric and intriguing. If you enjoy crime fiction and military history you will love


Edited by Susan Pope


Link to Kindle version available on Amazon now £2.40 :

 Did you know you don’t need to own a Kindle reading device to buy Kindle Books?

  Follow the link: ‘Read on any Device’ on the Amazon page.

Here are some Amazon links to other books by Susan Pope:

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups Link (Kindle & Paperback)

 Lighter Than Air Link (Kindle, Paperback & Audio book)



















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Learning is a life-time experience

adul-education-clipart-comI’m currently in the middle of an Access to Higher Education course run by the University of Kent and am studying this at the Brompton Academy in Gillingham and The Medway Campus of Kent University in the old Royal Naval Barrack at Chatham.



I consider it a privilege to be taught by the Universities superb lecturers of diverse subjects, who give up time in their already busy lives, to teach students of all ages who missed out on higher education or wish to refresh their academic abilities.



One is never too old or too young to learn, not only from the tutors, but also from the other students. It is delightful to mix with people from different generations and cultural backgrounds. To listen to their questions and answers and many points of view.


In English Literature there are no right or wrong answers. As students we are asked to consider the era in which the chosen book, play or poem was originally written. The time and the history of the various authors shaped what they wrote about and the language they used to write it. So we are learning about social history and cultural  influences alongside the literary styles and work of our great classic authors.



I hope this second chance at learning in an academic setting, mixing with such a diverse group of friends who share my passion for literature, will grow with my own lifetime experiences and help me to become better acquainted with great literature of the past and a better writer and author myself in the future.


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Time Slips by ……..

………. Yes, it really does.


There seems to have been a surge in interest in ‘time-slip’ fiction recently, although many of you will have be reading this genre for a long time. Those of you who know my writing history will be familiar with my debut novel Lighter Than Air, first published in 2008. I’m pleased to say that thanks to Amazon, sales are still going strong. The list of reviews on the Amazon pages range in date from 2008 to 2016. Amazon ensures that the ‘shelf-life’ of a book is extended from first publication to eternity. Long may this be so.

Whilst the paperback is no longer in print (until I decide to re-print it) copies of the paperback are still available under second-hand, including under the sub-category ‘collectables’, which are author-signed brand new copies sold by my own distribution source.  Also available through Amazon is the audio-book version on 10 CDs. Over 12 hours listening time for you to sit back and enjoy with your eyes closed, or to listen in your car while taking a long journey.


CD front cover only

Then of course the e-book Kindle version which brings this timeless story direct to your hand-held device. The advantage of this is – the price is low (currently £2.29 or free via Amazon Unlimited) and you can begin reading my story within minutes.

Here is the link to the Amazon page taking you to all three options. If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you will do so and enjoy the Time-Slip experience!


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Medway Libraries/Uni of Kent Creative Writing courses

I did this and the follow-on course a few years back. I strongly recommend it to all aspiring local writers. The experience is superb and it is also FREE. So get signed up asap!

Rochester Literature Festival

Following on from taster sessions in September, Medway Libraries and the University of Kent offer beginners the opportunity to develop their writing skills.

Uni Kent Writing Oct 16

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Medway Adult Festival of Learning Taster Sessions

Lots to learn about in Medway over the coming weeks.

Rochester Literature Festival

MACLS Adult Learning Tasters

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Trouble With Your Plot? Three Reasons to Kill Your Little Darlings

If you are a member of one of my writing groups or just writing your own novel at home – you may find this advice helpful – she’s a little mad but boy, Kristen Lamb knows her stuff!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Frederik Andreasson Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Frederik Andreasson

I love helping writers and one service I offer that’s been particularly valuable is plot consult. Writers who are struggling to finish or who start off with one idea after another only for that great idea to fall flat? They call me. Querying and getting nowhere? Again, contact me.

I’ve busted apart and repaired hundreds of plots. Thus far I’ve yet to meet a plot I couldn’t repair.

But, in my many years of doing this, I’ve seen enough troubled plots to note some common denominators for a failed story. One ingredient for plot disaster stands apart.

Little darlings.

As writers, we are at risk of falling in love with our own cleverness. The “cool” idea, the super amazing mind-blowing twist at the end. We get so caught up in how smart we are that we fail to see that we…

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